Can I take 1000mg of paracetamol?

Quick Answer

Taking 1000mg (1 gram) of paracetamol in a single dose is generally not recommended. The maximum recommended adult single dose of paracetamol is 1000mg, but lower doses are often advised. Taking more than the recommended dose can lead to liver damage. For most adults, the recommended maximum daily dose of paracetamol is 4000mg. Higher doses increase the risk of liver toxicity. Consult a doctor or pharmacist before exceeding the recommended dosage.

What is Paracetamol?

Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, is a common over-the-counter pain relief and fever reducing medication. It is an analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer) that is used to treat many conditions including headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, backaches, toothaches, colds and fevers.

Some common brand names for paracetamol include Tylenol, Panadol, and Calpol. It comes in various forms including tablets, capsules, liquid suspensions, suppositories and intravenous formulations. Paracetamol is available over-the-counter without a prescription in most countries.

How Paracetamol Works

Paracetamol works by inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins, hormone-like molecules that sensitize pain receptors and cause fever. It blocks an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), reducing the production of prostaglandins in the brain and body. This leads to an increase in pain threshold and a reduction in fever.

Paracetamol mainly acts on COX-2 and COX-3 enzymes, having little effect on COX-1 enzymes. This makes it gentler on the stomach compared to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen which inhibit COX-1 enzymes involved in protective prostaglandins in the stomach and gut.

Recommended Dosage of Paracetamol

The recommended dosage of paracetamol depends on the patient’s age and condition being treated. Some general dosage guidelines are:


Pain relief: The standard adult dosage for pain relief is 325 to 1000mg taken orally every 4 to 6 hours as needed. The maximum daily dose is 4000mg in healthy adults.

Fever: For reducing fever in adults, the dosage is 325 to 1000mg every 4-6 hours or as directed.

Severe pain: For more severe pain, the dosage may be increased to 1000mg every 6 hours but should not exceed 4000mg per day.


The dosage is weight-based for children:

Ages 12-15 years: 325 to 650mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Max of 3250mg per day.

Ages 6-11 years: 320 to 400mg every 4 to 6 hours. Max of 2400mg per day.

Ages 3-5 years: 160 to 250mg every 4 to 6 hours. Max of 1500mg per day.

Ages 1-2 years: 80 to 120mg every 4 to 6 hours. Max of 600mg per day.


Ages 6-11 months: 40 to 75mg every 6 to 8 hours as needed. Max of 375mg per day.

Under 6 months: Not recommended unless advised by a doctor.

Is 1000mg of Paracetamol Safe?

The maximum recommended adult single dose of paracetamol is 1000mg. However, most guidelines advise starting with lower doses of 325 to 500mg first.

Taking 1000mg at once may be safe for some adults but can also increase the risk of liver toxicity if the daily limit is exceeded. Overdosing on paracetamol can lead to severe and sometimes fatal liver damage.

Why 1000mg is Not Routinely Advised

There are some reasons why a dose of 1000mg paracetamol is not routinely recommended or advised as a single dose:

– It leaves less room for error before reaching the maximum daily dose of 4000mg. Taking 1000mg 4 times a day would add up to 4000mg.

– Lower doses of 325 to 500mg are often sufficient for mild to moderate pain in adults. Higher doses can be used if needed.

– Starting with a lower dose allows assessing if it provides enough pain relief before increasing the amount.

– People may be more prone to unintentionally overdosing if taking 1000mg at once routinely.

– Overusing paracetamol or taking more than directed can increase the risk of liver toxicity. Lower doses are gentler on the liver.

– Paracetamol overdose risk may be higher in certain groups including older adults, malnourished individuals, and those who chronically consume alcohol.

Risks of a 1000mg Paracetamol Overdose

Taking more than the maximum recommended dose of paracetamol can lead to toxic effects, especially liver damage in both adults and children. Overdosing on paracetamol can occur with a single excessive dose or taking too much over the course of a day.

Some effects of paracetamol overdose include:

– Liver injury – Toxic metabolites produced from paracetamol can cause severe liver cell damage and necrosis. This can progressively lead to liver failure.

– Increased liver enzymes – Liver toxicity from paracetamol causes elevated blood levels of enzymes like ALT, AST and GGT which signal liver injury.

– Abdominal pain – Right upper quadrant abdominal pain may signal liver injury.

– Nausea and vomiting – This can occur early due to toxic metabolites.

– Dehydration – Vomiting and inability to stay hydrated can worsen toxicity.

– Kidney failure – The metabolite effects can also lead to acute renal failure.

– Shock – As liver damage progresses, decreased blood flow can result in shock.

– Unconsciousness or coma – Severe cases can lead to coma or death within days.

Risk of Liver Damage

The maximum daily dose of 4000mg was set to avoid the risk of liver toxicity. However, liver damage is still possible even below this limit in susceptible individuals.

Chronic alcohol use, liver disease, old age and malnutrition increase susceptibility to paracetamol liver toxicity. Repeated supratherapeutic doses without adequate time for the liver to recover in between also raise the risk.

Doses exceeding 150mg/kg bodyweight in adults significantly increase the risk of hepatotoxicity. However, severe liver injury has occurred with single doses as low as 6,000 to 10,000mg.

Signs of liver toxicity may initially be non-specific like nausea and malaise but can rapidly progress to liver failure if untreated. Seek immediate medical attention for possible overdose.

Treating a Paracetamol Overdose

Seek emergency help immediately in case of a known or suspected paracetamol overdose. Quick action is crucial to prevent liver damage.

Some key points regarding treatment:

Activated charcoal – May be given to absorb paracetamol. Most effective if given within 1 to 2 hours of overdose.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – Antidote that replenishes glutathione stores to minimize liver injury. Helpful up to 24 hours post-ingestion.

Blood tests – Measuring paracetamol blood levels helps guide treatment. Liver function tests also assist.

Supportive care – Intravenous fluids, medications, correction of acid-base imbalances. May need liver transplant if acute liver failure occurs.

Repeated doses of NAC – Sometimes required for staggered, unknown ingestions.

Early intervention is vital for the best outcome. Contact a poison control center or emergency services provider right away if an overdose is suspected, even if no symptoms are present yet.

Precautions with 1000mg Paracetamol

It is important to follow dosage guidelines and exercise caution if considering taking 1000mg paracetamol at once.

Some precautions include:

– Do not exceed more than 1000mg in a single dose unless advised by a doctor.

– Do not take more than 4000mg total per day from all sources.

– Read medication labels carefully and check for paracetamol in combination products.

– Avoid taking 1000mg doses routinely long-term.

– Allow at least 4 to 6 hours between doses. Do not take more than 4000mg in 24 hours.

– Be very careful not to double dose, such as taking 1000mg twice too closely together.

– Check with a doctor before use if you have liver disease, regularly drink alcohol or take other medications.

– Seek prompt medical help at first signs of liver injury like abdominal pain, nausea or jaundice.

– Consult a doctor or pharmacist if pain persists after maximum dosage use.

Who Should Avoid 1000mg Paracetamol?

There are some groups who may require extra precautions with paracetamol or need to avoid doses of 1000mg per single dose.

People Who Should Exercise Caution with 1000mg Paracetamol

– Adults over age 65 years – Increased liver toxicity susceptibility.
– Chronic heavy alcohol drinkers – Higher risk of liver damage.
– Liver disease – Underlying hepatic impairment makes overdose more dangerous.
– Malnutrition or low body weight – Depleted glutathione reserves worsen toxicity.
– Dehydration – Can increase concentration of toxic metabolites.
– Concomitant interacting drugs – Effects may be enhanced by other medicines.

Groups Who Should Avoid 1000mg Single Doses

– Children under 12 years old – Not recommended due to body size.
– Liver or kidney impairment – Increased overdose risk.
– Gilbert’s syndrome – Decreased UDP-glucuronosyltransferase leads to reduced clearance.
– Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency – Higher risk of oxidative injury to cells including red blood cells.

Maximum Daily Dose

The maximum daily limit of paracetamol is 4000mg per day from all sources according to FDA and other international guidelines. This applies to both over-the-counter and prescription formulations.

Exceeding 4000mg per day can lead to severe liver toxicity. Cases of liver failure have occurred after ingesting 4000 to 6000mg daily for multiple days.

To avoid unintended overdose:

– Carefully check medication labels and do not take more than 1 product containing paracetamol at the same time.

– Do not take for longer than 10 days maximum unless under medical supervision.

– Seek medical help immediately at first signs of liver problems like right upper abdominal pain, yellow skin or eyes, or dark urine.

– Speak with a doctor or pharmacist before increasing your dosage, especially if needing to take for prolonged periods.

The 4000mg per day maximum does not apply to every individual. Those with risk factors like chronic alcohol use or malnutrition may need to use lower doses long-term. Discuss your paracetamol use with your healthcare provider.


In summary, taking 1000mg of paracetamol at one time is generally not advised routinely. While 1000mg is unlikely to cause toxicity from an occasional single dose in a healthy adult, regular use of the maximum dose leaves little room for error. Lower doses of 325 to 500mg are often sufficient for mild pain and fever, have less impact on the liver, and reduce the risks if double dosing accidentally occurs.

Certain groups including the elderly, those with liver disease or malnutrition, and individuals who drink heavily need to exercise even greater caution with 1000mg single doses due to increased susceptibility to toxicity and liver damage. Exceeding 4000mg per day maximum substantially increases the risks. When using paracetamol, carefully follow dosage directions, do not take more than directed, and watch for any signs of liver injury. Consult a healthcare provider if your symptoms do not improve or if pain persists after taking the maximum recommended dose.

Leave a Comment